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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Malaysian Sarong Politics: Two-Party-System becoming a Two-Race-System is a question of one or two sarongs!!

A question of one or two sarongs

The following is a commentary in Sin Chew Daily written by its columnist Lim Fang. 

THE debate between Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and Lim Guan Eng deviated from the topic “Chinese at a Crossroads: Is the Two Party System Becoming a Two-Race System?” and turned out to be just a summary of their previous press statements but with a difference — the two leaders were face-to-face.

Considering that this was the first debate in this path of democracy, there were some unavoidable shortcomings. The next debate, either in Malay or English and expected to be held next month, should be able overcome some of these weaknesses.

The last time leaders from these two parties squared off was in 1982 when Lim Kit Siang challenged the then MCA president Tan Sri Lee San Choon to contest in a Chinese majority area to prove which party had the support of the community.

Lee took up the challenge and contested in Seremban in the general election that year. Lim did not contest in the seat but instead the then DAP chairman Dr Chen Man Hin did and lost to Lee.

Thirty years on, this debate has given the new generation of voters a chance to observe the performance of two political foes facing off again. For years, the DAP has had the advantage in the Internet with the MCA being seen there as its whipping boy.

The debate thus gave Dr Chua a chance to prove his “iron man” prowess, as well as use live television to state the stand of the MCA clearly and rebut the DAP.

Some master debaters may question the quality of the debate but this is not a university-type competition as the two were delivering their speech, arguing their political stand and giving a political ceremah. This is different from the political debates in Taiwan.

Lim is good at giving ceramahs but in the debate he avoided the audience’s questions and was embarrassingly tongue-tied when tough questions were thrown at him.

He spent some time reading from his prepared notes and this showed he lacked confidence to expound a convincing argument and concentrated only on voicing out his own political views.

Dr Chua was the first to speak and may not have warmed up at the start, that is until after Lim started attacking him. He then showed his “fighting cock” style and replied sharply.

Without having to read from his notes — a no-no when debating — Dr Chua showed he was confident as well as calm and collected. One could see who was sharp and who was blunt in the debate.

As usual, Dr Chua attacked DAP for not being able to do anything about PAS wanting to implement the Islamic state policy. He said the Rocket badmouthed its opponents just to create an image for itself. He said the DAP was only capable of talking about issues relating to the country, community and people but did not do anything. He accused Lim’s party of misleading the people with lies.

On Lim’s side, he harped on corruption by Barisan Nasional and the MCA’s inability to do anything when Umno shouted out Malay supremacy. Lim also claimed credit for the achievements in Penang under his administration.

When Lim was stressing on Penang’s achievements, he was merely debating as the Penang Chief Minister. Lim forgot that he was also the DAP’s secretary-general. This showed that Lim did not step into the main political arena but confined himself to a regional political stage.

In fact, the debate topic did not apply to the country’s real situation, as the Malays comprise 65% of the population while Chinese make up 24%. Such vast difference in numbers makes it impossible for the two races to go head-on with each other in terms of strength.

The Umno-led Barisan had been practising the two-race system for quite some time to strengthen their position by complementing each other’s strength. It will be no different if Pakatan Rakyat were to come to power, the DAP, which mainly depends on the support of the Chinese community, has to abide by the policies drawn up by PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

Before this, the DAP used to ridicule the MCA by saying it was hiding inside Umno’s sarong. Today, they dare not repeat such statements because if the Pakatan comes to power, DAP would have one more sarong than the MCA. The conclusion of the debate between the MCA and the DAP is whether there will be one or two sarongs, and which the Chinese community felt more comfortable with.

Video: How to Tie a Sarong Knot? 

How to Tie a Sarong Knot -- powered by ehow

Related posts:
Is the Two-Party-Sytem becoming a Two-Race-System? Online spars started before Chua-Lim debate!
Malaysian Chinese at a Political Crossroads forum; Chua-Lim Debate, all hype but no climax
Malaysian Politics: Chua-Lim Debate Sets New Standard 

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